Saturday, June 20, 2015

Old Timer's Day Ages Out


Old Timer's Day in Yankee Stadium is always a magnificent celebration. No other team has the depth and breadth of greatness to draw upon for the day's festivities. As a matter of fact, I believe that they are the only MLB team to have an annual Old Timer's Day. I wonder, though, is it time to end the tradition?

Yes, that sounds blasphemous. End Old Timer's Day? One might as well allow instant replays, have timers to make pitchers speed up, or have hitters not adjust and continually hit into grotesque defensive over shifts.

If you look at the above photo from today's event, you'll notice how many empty seats you can see in the bleachers. I watched the gala on television, and every section of the stadium was just as sparsely filled. It was a misty day, not great weather, but it's clear that fans today have lost interest in honoring the great players of the past. I think a promotion of free tee shirts shot out of a cannon would have brought out more fans than I saw in the stands today.

In the modern world of sports attendance, when prices of everything from tickets to concessions have sky rocketed, the corporate owners of most of the best seats are not fans in any sense of the word. If the weather is not perfect, or if a game will be preceded by two plus hours of Old Timer festivities, they have no interest in attending. Vast expanses of empty seats make a poor backdrop when an appreciative honoree extolls the "greatest fans in the world".

The modern world of MLB has no need for the anachronism of an Old Timer's Day. Fan interest has waned, and teams should give the fans what they want; ear splitting music, commercials on the scoreboard, and loads of swag, shot out of a cannon if possible.

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